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Government
Nigeria’s Senate on Wednesday passed for second reading a Bill for an Act to establish the Institute of Bitumen Management for training and research in Bitumen Technology at Ode Aye in Ondo State.

The passing of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP, Ondo), followed its consideration at plenary.

Leading debate on the bill, Tofowomo said the government had priority of enhancing economic diversity and the Ninth National Assembly had keyed into the concept of meaningful development.

According to him, Bitumen deposit in Ondo South covers Odigbo, Okitipupa and Irele local government areas which is about half of the senatorial district.

He said record indicated that Ondo South has the second largest Bitumen deposit in the whole world, after Venezuela with the largest deposit.

“Bitumen importation has been significant in Nigeria since military administration of Gen. Gowon (rtd.) and it has taken significant effect on our foreign exchange,” Tofowomo said.

He said many past administrations had played different roles in exploring Bitumen, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari had shown interest in Bitumen exploration since 2015.

He, however, said the Bitumen exploration had not been on a continuous basis because of different difficulties inherent in it.

“Bitumen is one of the richly deposited mineral resources in Nigeria and some African countries just like crude oil.

“It is found in Ondo, Lagos, Ogun and Edo states. Bitumen was discovered at first in 1900 and exploration began in 1905, Ondo State has large deposits in Sand/Bitumen and the state government has tried its exploration in the past without any achievement.

“There is environmental degradation caused by spilling of Bitumen and will create employment for the people in the region,” Tofowomo said.

According to him, Nigeria has an approximated estimate Bitumen reserve of 42.74 billion metric tonnes.

He said the establishment of Bitumen Institute would harmonise all past strides and researchers made on Bitumen exploration since 1905 and evolve a solid foundation for economic exploration of Bitumen in Nigeria.

According to him,the enactment of the bill will help transform the Bitumen potentials and fortunes in Nigeria via production of desired manpower and expertise to drive the Bitumen industry.

He said the host community and Ondo State Government were ready to provide 1000 acres of land for the establishment of the institute.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bill to the Committee on Solid Minerals for further legislative inputs.
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Economy, Finance

The Federal Government of Nigeria has high expectation on the Lekki Deep Seaport as a significant game-changer in Nigeria’s Maritime economy with corresponding benefits to the West and Central sub-regions of Africa.

 

The  Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Dr Magdalene Ajani disclosed this in a statement by Anastasia Ogbonna, Assistant Director Press and Public Relations of the Ministry, in Abuja.

Ajani made this known when she led a Ministerial Team on a quartely inspection of progress of work on the Lekki Deep Sea Port in Lagos.

 

According to her, the Port is designed to be the deepest port in West Africa.

 

The inspection comprised of an audio-visual briefing by the management of Lekki Port Enterprises, the contractors (China Harbour Engineering Co. Ltd) and the Project Managers (Louis Berger Intl.) as well as a physical inspection of the works on site.

 

Ajani said the developers were working assiduously to meet the deadline of fourth quarter 2022 for commencement of commercial operations as directed by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.

The permanent secretary was accompanied on the inspection by the Director, Maritme Services, Awal Suleiman, Director, Legal Services, Pius Oteh, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello. Others include the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala- Usman, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Bashir Jamoh and other technical officers from the Ministry and the Agencies.

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Government

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has approved the establishment of the National Centre for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW) to be domiciled at the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

 

The Head, Strategic Communication, ONSA, Mr Zakari Usman, disclosed this in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

 

Usman said that NCCSALW had replaced the defunct Presidential Committee on SALW and would serve as institutional mechanism for policy guidance, research and monitoring of all aspects of SALW in Nigeria.

 

He said the decision was part of ongoing restructuring of Nigeria’s security architecture to address emerging threats and strengthen regional mechanism for the control, prevention and regulation of SALW.

 

According to the him, the impact of the proliferation of SALW across national borders in Africa and the Sahel region has resulted in terrorism, human trafficking, organised crime, and insurrections in West Africa and Nigeria.

 

 “Therefore, as one of the measures in tackling this threat, the new Centre will be fulfilling the requirements of the ECOWAS Moratorium on Import, Export, and Manufacture of Light Weapons as well as the UN Plan of Action to prevent, combat, and eradicate the illicit trade in SALW.

 

 

 

 “The NCCSALW will serve as the National Focal Point on SALW in Nigeria and lead a multi-stakeholder process involving government Ministries, Departments, Agencies and the civil societies in implementing all national, UN and ECOWAS Plans of Action on the control of SALW.

 

“The Centre will maintain international cooperation and also operate zonal offices in the six geopolitical zones to ensure quick response and effective mobilisation of resources,” he said.

 

Usman also disclosed that Buhari had appointed retired Maj.Gen. AM Dikko as Pioneer Coordinator of the centre.

 

He said that Dikko had served in various capacities in and outside Nigeria.

 

 “He was a Course Director at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre and Chief `Instructor of the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre.

 

“He was also a Military Adviser, United Nation Office for West Africa, Director Peacekeeping Operations Defence Headquarters, Commander Operations LAST HOLD as well as Commander, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, to mention a few.

 

“The pioneer coordinator has vast experience working with the ECOWAS and the UN system and is expected to operationalise the objectives of the NCCSALW,” he said.

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Government
President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday reinstated the commitment of his administration to freedom of the press, and urged media professionals to wield such freedom responsibly.

In a statement, Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman, in Abuja, said Buhari’s reassurance was contained in a message to mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day.

The statement quoted Buhari as describing freedom of the press as “an irreducible minimum in a democracy that will flourish”, adding, however, that the freedom must be used responsibly.

“Everything that is permitted must have rules of correctness, particularly in a polity seriously challenged as ours now.

“The media must be sensitive to what we are going through as a country; anything that will exacerbate the situation and further inflame passions and emotions should be avoided.

”The media needs to ensure that while informing, educating, entertaining and setting agenda for public discourse, it does not encourage incendiary words and actions that could further hurt our unity in diversity.”

He maintained that licentious freedom was different from freedom with responsibility, and charged the Nigerian media to embrace the later, rather than the former.

The statement also quoted Buhari as pledging greater cooperation with the media to discharge its duties in line with the theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day which is “Information as a Public Good”.

He charged those who manage information for government to make public interest their guide, while also encouraging the media to use the Freedom of Information Act to make its jobs easier.
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Education, Government
The Federal Government of Nigeria on Tuesday inaugurated a homegrown ‘Plagiarism Detection Software Code’ called EagleScan to enhance the integrity of higher institutions.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the inauguration of the software in Abuja, said that plagiarism was a form of corruption.

Osinbajo said that the initiative was part of the core mandates of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration that announced the zero tolerance for plagiarism.

According to him, the Federal Government is fully committed to support all initiatives that will continue to build and enhance the integrity of higher institutions.

“Let me also say that the government will give all that is needed to ensure that anti plagiarism measures are instituted across the country,” Osinbajo added.

Speaking, the Minister of Education, Mr Adamu Adamu, while lauding the indigenous anti plagiarism software, said it would facilitate the desired quality expected in institutions of higher learning.

Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, emphasised the need to institutionalise an anti-plagiarism policy in all higher institutions.

Rasheed said that doing this would encompass various aspects of Plagiarism.

“Having the software is one aspect of the battle against plagiarism, universities must take concrete steps to institutionalise anti plagiarism policy that forbids all aspects of the intellectual theft.

“For so long the issues of Plagiarism amongst others such as copyrights as well as abuses of infringements have robbed our universities the much desired integrity,” he said.

Similarly, the Chairman of the occasion and the Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Higher Education, Prof. Sandy Onor, said the software would address the challenges of academic research authentication and validation.

“The EagleScan Plagiarism Detection Software integrates global open source and closed source repositories, local Open Education Repositories and allows users to validate titles abstracts and generate originality report,” he said.

The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Prof. Elias Bogoro, promised that the Fund on plagiarism would be committed to work with the Committee of Vice Chancellors to fight plagiarism.

Bogoro said that the fund was not only committed to the initiative but had effectively proceeded to make funding commitment towards the project.

” TETFund recently realised the need for software on anti plagiarism for the National Research Fund.

“We are also working on a software to package the impact of research but in respect of Plagiarism, we are happy to work with the Committee of Vice Chancellors to fight plagiarism.

“We are convinced of deepened content of academic engagement particularly research, the idea of operations must stop hence, the establishment of the Research & Development committee,” Bogoro added.

The Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede called for an all inclusive concentration on the EagleScan.

Oloyede pleaded that the Plagiarism Detection Software be tagged a National Repository, saying that this would create more opportunities for all institutions across all sectors to subscribe.

Also, the Chairman , Association of Vice Chancellors, Prof. Timothy Olagbemiro, said the EagleScan would make the Nigerian University system more authentic.

Olagbemiro added that it would add value to education both in Nigeria and International.

He, however, said the cost of development, deployment, maintenance and marketing of the software over the next three years, had been projected at a total sum of N251,298,000.00 .
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